Steve Hathaway joined Brittons of Devon as its managing director two months after the pastry product supplier had been through a massive rebranding in February 2003.
Hathaway had previously been general manager at Northern Foods, where he had worked for 13 years. Now at the head of a smaller business with 110 employees, Hathaway thoroughly enjoys his working week.
“One of the great things about being an MD is the sheer depth of the role,” says Hathaway. “I could be discussing capital projects one minute, then talking about merchandising, marketing or new product development the next.
“If I am out visiting customers I will be on the road from 6am, because we have got a lot of ground to cover. We are very customer focused, so while I’m not strictly in sales, I support the sales team.”
Hathaway is on site about three days a week and arrives at the factory, which has just had a major investment to upgrade all equipment, by 8am.
“While my laptop is warming up, I’ll go around the factory to say hello to everyone and find out what’s going on. It’s a great feel around the place because
everyone works hard and is committed to their work.”
Some weeks will involve new challenges being thrown at Hathaway, such as the recent Para Red and Sudan 1 alerts.
When the Para Red scare broke a fortnight ago, Hathaway’s product recall simulations paid off.
He and his team had been through the checking process and had given customers, including Greene King, Delice de France and FooGo, the all clear by 11am the next day.
However, Hathaway says: “All our ingredients are locally sourced and, as we are very much about quality, I always have full confidence in our products. We make our products by hand and pride ourselves on being real people making real food.”
‘We pride ourselves on being real people making real food’